Can these changes bring back the excitement of the fans? (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
2018 is expected to bring new changes in the PBA
The latter part of 2017 was an episode that the PBA probably wanted to forget. Why?
We almost didn't have a 43rd season to watch due to the uncertainties that were brought about by the controversial trade involving the top pick, Christian Standhardinger who sent by the Kia Picanto to the San Miguel Beermen in exchange for role players off the bench- a trade that was approved by then-Commissioner Chito Narvasa.
That decision appeared to be the nail that was needed to seal the coffin for Narvasa as 7 team members elected not to extend his contract. This would lead to the cancellation of the league's annual planning session in the United States- something that made people ask: Will be there a lockout?
Chito Narvasa submitted his resignation just a few hours before the opening ceremony of the PBA's 43rd season but was allowed to stay in office until December 31, 2017. While the season did open as scheduled, it wasn't enough to attract a big crowd to watch the opening game between the San Miguel Beermen and the Phoenix Fuel Masters as crowd estimate was said to have only reached around 5000 fans.
Fortunately for the league and this basketball-crazy country, 2018 presents an opportunity for the PBA to have a fresh start by having the following changes implemented as soon as possible:
A New Commissioner
There's no better way to start a new year than to select a commissioner who will do everything in his capacity to improve the quality of games that the league is playing. With Chito Narvasa's contract over and with Willie Marcial only acting as the officer-in-charge to ensure the continuity of the things, the selection of a new commissioner will be among the top agendas when the members of the board meeting on January 26, 2018, for the first time this year. Who will the board select as Narvasa's replacement? We'll know eventually.
Willie Marcial has also indicated that they want to develop more color into the games by becoming less strict on physical plays- stating that stricter calls on physicality have been one of the things that have been prolonging games, especially under Narvasa's term. While team owners agreed that dirty plays won't be tolerated, they also agreed that basketball is first and foremost, a game of physicality and that is something that both the teams and the fans want. A faster pace of games will ignite the excitement of the fans. After all, who would enjoy a foul-filled game, right?
Having a new commissioner is the first step towards rebuilding a better relationship between the PBA and the fans. However, having a commissioner who will listen to the fans will help sustain that harmonic relationship. In addition to this, having a better rule in calling fouls in games will not only speed up the pace of the game but will help in terms of regaining the long-lost beauty of Philippine Basketball that is full of physicality. After all, that's the thing that made Philippine basketball famous around the world.